Untouched

Untouched

Untouched: Battle of Inner Demons and Conscience

A conscientious soul makes a man stand with courageous integrity and fight for the truth. This story tells how guilt works in the lives of those who harboured regrets.

Main character Mitch was a lawyer. She inherited her mom’s firm in Savannah. Eleanor was an authoritative figure not only in the firm and their town but in her son’s life as well. Mitch became pushed over and preferred to do his mom’s bidding. His behaviour may seem intriguing — an adult without a backbone of his own.

As the plot unfolds, Mitch showed that even an educated person from a well-off family could become vulnerable to his emotions. Much as we too, show others a façade of stable personality when, in fact, we battle with inner demons like guilt and regrets.

The story turned when Eleanor wanted Mitch to represent 16-year-old Jacquelyn, daughter of Reverend Terry — arrested for murdering her newborn baby. Mitch’s former flame District Attorney Reece submitted a motion so Jacquelyn will be on trial as an adult.

However, the judge granted to have her detained at a juvenile facility upon Mitch’s request. For Eleanor and Reece, it was already a done deal. However, Mitch and his police investigator friend Taylor went to Tybee community in a search for the baby’s father.

And then, there was Angela, Mitch’s former great love who happened to be Jacquelyn’s music teacher. She stands as a witness. During questioning, Reece slighted her credibility by asking if she ever had an abortion, but Mitch was quick to intervene. This scene reminds us that no passing of time can diminish deep-seated hurts. There had been no proper closure for Angela and Mitch.

There were several twists and turns in this film. Reverend Terry and Eleanor seemed to have affection for each other but chose to keep their reputation instead. Mitch didn’t fight for what he and Angela had a long time ago. It caused him so much regret to the point of drinking to drown memories of their togetherness. Both mother and son have issues of their own and against each other.

The core message of this film depicts the purpose of conscience so that some scenes could have justified it. Jacquelyn reads The Bible inside her cell.

However, she remained adamant about confessing the truth. Her father was a preacher, and yet, he remained proud and detached from his daughter’s ordeal. Their knowledge of the scripture could have led to exposing their guilt and then repentance. Instead, they portrayed religious persons who committed a crime and got away with it because of their influence on those who impose the legal system.

Some things are better left untouched like a lost love or a past mistake — they break us for a while. When we face the truth and forgive ourselves, that’s when a new chapter of our lives begins.

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The Colors of Emily

Colors of Emily

The Colors of Emily: A Reflection of Hope

An artwork is an expression of one’s soul.

This story, The Colors of Emily, is about how an art finder and artist have affected each other’s lives in one way or another. Kate was a hard-headed art dealer. She undergoes therapy so she can get her life in order but decided to run away from the therapist. On a lookout for new art pieces, she drove to reach a small town called New Harmony. Kate’s behaviour holds to a typical adult with a troubled past.

This reminds us to not judge a person, but we need to understand where she is coming.

Kate meets café owner Nadia. She took notice of the artwork on display and offered to purchase it. To her dismay, Nadia refused to say it was a special gift from a blind girl named Emily. Kate went to Emily’s house, and there, she found herself amazed at the other pieces that she crafted beautifully. In each section, Emily tells her inspiration. Each had a back story.

As Kate’s friendship with Emily develops, so is her knowledge about Emily’s tragic family history, the murder of her mom and the conspiracy underneath.

Kate learns much about the town and its people through Emily’s paintings before she lost her sight. In a twist of fate, the café exploded, killing Nadia in the process. Kate’s shock upon Nadia’s passing has transformed her to become strong-willed. Nadia’s husband Sam believed what happened was not an accident.

A lawyer named Thomas tried to intimidate her. Good thing there’s police officer Jacob that looks after her and Emily. The trio was out to solve a mystery involving Emily’s family and their land.

The twists and turns in the plot tell a lot about how a back story affects the present lives of the characters. Kate experienced abuse when she was young. She carried her pain to adulthood that it haunts her, even resulting in nightmares.

This film showed how Kate was able to conquer her fears. Her realisation scenes teach us not to allow old wounds to scar us for the rest of our lives.

Emily reveals that their land holds a reservoir of oil that’s worth a fortune. The lease was the reason they killed her mom. She knew the perpetrator which became that is why she translated her fears into colours, a piece called Reflection. She protected herself and her property in her way. Exposing this man led to a climactic ending and revelations.

This scene is a thought-provoking part of the film. Elders may explain to a young viewer why they need to value their heir.

Ultimately, this film depicted blindness in both conscious and subconscious form in each and every one of us. We choose to see what is visible or go blind over matters we thought we could escape. It is up to us to decide which to see.

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Into His Arms

Into His Arms

Into His Arms: Letting Go and Letting God

This drama film released in 1999 revolves around a 7-year-old girl named Jennifer and her mom Sharla. A well-off family in a community surrounded by friends. Until one day, the two went shopping to find a nice dress Jennifer can wear at her first piano recital. Sharla coaxed her daughter to try out a dress while she gets busy choosing other dresses for her. After a few minutes, her daughter was not there anymore. Fear surged Sharla knowing that Jennifer wouldn’t leave the shop without her. This story is a reminder to every parent to always be watchful of your child even as you go to the same old shop.

Sharla was remorseful to the point of having nightmares about the incident. Her husband Jim blamed her. Her sorrow was beyond words. Neighbours reached out to her but she became reclusive. She attempted to resist her friend Bren who bought some groceries to ease her chores. She offered to pay knowing she’s more financially able than her but Bren was quick to remind her that she’s willing to lend a hand because she was her friend. Later on, we learned Bren lost her husband on a road accident. Sharla asked how she managed to cope and her reply was that she asked God for comfort. Their conversation scene showed us how good it was to have an understanding and encouraging friend especially in times when our heart gets troubled.

They found the body of Jennifer in the woods. However, Gary cannot just accept what happened. He believes that Jennifer can’t simply run away and die like that. A police officer told him to close the case since they know enough. What triggered Gary was this guy’s statement that if he is going to chase phantoms, it will just hurt everyone. Gary was persistent to pursue his investigations further. Instinct and conscience was his guide for running after the truth. And sometimes, it is the gut feeling that tells us that something’s wrong. Gary’s persistence leads him to track Sharla’s neighbour and family friend Bill. His capture revealed the real story behind the untimely death of the girl.

This film is an eye-opener. Some pain never goes away like losing a loved one. We learned that forgiveness for the offender allows her to rebuild her faith. Sharla may not have granted her forgiveness to Bill at this time. Just maybe, she’ll come around to it once she becomes ready to forgive herself and heal her wounded soul thereafter.

We question God for tragedies that come our way. The message is for us to acknowledge that by submitting Into His Hands our lives, we let go of the pain and we let God unfold a new us as we move on.

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Runaway Hearts

Runaway Hearts

Runaway Hearts: The Courage to Live

This film tells a compelling story about two kids who ran away from home and came across two adults who ran away from their past circumstances. An 11-year-old Tevin and 5-year-old Angel have the same mom Maze but different fathers who they haven’t met.

The story took a turn when one day, Maze overdose on drugs. On impulse, Tevin drags Angel out of the house until the ambulance took their mom’s body away. Tevin takes his mom’s boyfriend Dill’s drug money. He thought he needed a bike so they can go farther. The kids went to Gabe’s yard, and Tevin took one of his bikes, but Angel prodded to return it.

As viewers, we think they were too young to experience this kind of messy ordeal. But it happens in real life. Tevin showed us the survival instincts of an elder brother who was out to save and protect his little sister from the odds they face.

Meanwhile, Gabe was attending a counselling session after his release from jail. He was hard on himself after a trauma he experienced when he was a teenager. His dad frequently hits his mom. He was coming home from school when his parents died from a car crash. His younger brother Jerry sustained severe injuries.

Unfortunately, social services separated them. Jerry ended up with abusive foster parents. Gabe became an architect but resorted to alcohol to ease his pain. He was drunk-driving when he crashed into a bus resulting in multiple injuries on the passengers, which is why he was in jail. Gabe’s pain runs deep into his soul. Issues we face like cruelty from people who are supposed to care for us takes a long time to heal. Only God’s mercy can save our soul from self-incrimination.

After being away from their town for a long time, Gabe returns to his former home. Emma was his love interest when they were young. She would catch him looking at her from afar. Emma and Gabe were both lonely souls who yearn to love and love in return. They tell us that their separation from each other no matter how long a time it was cannot erase the love that they hold in their hearts.

The kids used Gabe’s treehouse as their shelter. Gabe kept mum to the authorities even when they knew about the kids’ whereabouts. Meanwhile, Dill trailed them and took the chance to retrieve his money. The culminating scene will leave you to the edge of your seats. The ending implied that Gabe and Emma could become adoptive parents to Tevin and Angel soon.

Ultimately, the film’s message is for us to use courage as a means of living a life that is better than our past. Gabe’s conversation with the counsellor taught us we can’t change what was, but we can change what will be. Our past experiences may influence our present and future self but not defined by it.

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Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner: Is this even possible?

Loving the sinner

Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner: Is this even possible?

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has a light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

As part of God’s family, we become more discerning of what is acceptable to God and not. Our new nature makes us despise wrongdoings. Admit it or not, it is so easy for us to be uncomfortable when we know that the unbelievers around us are committing sin.

But how are we really to respond to such situations? Let’s look at Jesus’ example.

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gatherings around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?’” – Luke 15:1-4

When the Pharisees called Jesus a ‘friend of sinners,’ it was to insult Him. Ironically, they just reflected the reality of Jesus’ love and longing for the lost. He came to earth, not for the righteous, but to seek and save the sinners (Luke 19:10).

Befriending the sinners didn’t mean that Jesus tolerated their sin or took part in their destructive behaviour. He lived a holy, sinless life, but still spent time with sinful people.

This is to show us that everyone may experience life transformation if we would only repent – ask for forgiveness, receive Him as our Savior, and turn back from our old ways.

Even on our original state – sinful, filthy, hopeless – Jesus proved Himself to be the best friend we could ever have. Jesus sacrificed His very own life for us (John 15:13).

He saw us in our worst situations, yet loved us just the same,  He saved us not for our righteousness, but because of His mercy (Titus 3:5)

Therefore, as Jesus’ followers, we are to do the same.

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” – Matthew 5:44, 46

Being kind to kind people is easy. Giving to those who are generous to us is easy. Loving those who do us good is easy. Even unbelievers can do that.

However, the one who loves the least loveable, the arrogant, and the immoral is the true Christian. Because we are followers of Jesus, instead of disliking those who wrong us, we forgive them and understand their need of a Savior.

We are not to condone the sin, but not condemn the sinner either. And we must hate the act but love the one who took action. We are to attack the problem, but not the person.

By so doing, we can pass down to others the unconditional love that we have received from Jesus.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

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Practical Ways to Rule Over Your Emotions

Practical Ways to Rule Over Your Emotions

 Practical Ways to Rule Over Your Emotions

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. – Genesis 4:6-8

Despite receiving a warning from God, Cain was still not able to overcome the heat of anger. Being unable to control his rage, he made the decision that led to the first ever murder incident in human history.

Who are we to frown on Cain, though? Even today, it is so easy to hastily deal with things that enrage us. When we are wronged or ridiculed, we can just recklessly do whatever we feel like doing.

Letting this happen, however, is dangerous. When we allow our hearts to be filled with rage and let ourselves lose our self-control, we are on our way to making dangerous decisions – ones that can even lead to our own destruction.

It is vital, therefore, for us Christians to intentionally change our attitude and rule over our emotions. Here are some practical ways to do that.

Suppress yourself from speaking hateful words

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29

Jesus warns us to be careful of what comes out of our mouths because we can defile ourselves not through the food that we eat, but the things that we say (Matthew 15:11). Before blurting out anything, remind yourself of your identity. You are a child of God, and God’s children speak with grace (Colossians 4:6).

Forget about getting vengeance

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:18

Discipline yourself to repay evil with good because that’s what God expects from us. He does not ask us to defend ourselves from wrongdoers. Instead, God tells us to trust Him and leave vengeance to His hands (Deuteronomy 32:35). To stay at arm’s length with the sin of hurting others, strive to do what is good for others (1 Thessalonians 5:15), regardless if they offend you.

Go immediately to God

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. – John 14:26

Ask the Lord to remove the anger from your heart and replace it with patience. Take a moment to literally pause and pray. This way, you can be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s conviction on the right decision to make.

How do you respond when others mistreat you? Do you lose your temper? Do you act in haste? Do you make foolish decisions?  Whatever situation you’re in, God promises never to abandon you. Resolve to practice self-control. Don’t let rage take over. Remember, “a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

Broken: A Tale between Vengeance and Forgiving

Broken

Broken: A Tale between Vengeance and Forgiving

The film Broken opened its story with a caption New Zealand (1836). The murder of a girl changes the course of history. The astonishing acts of forgiveness that follow bring peace between the warring tribes. The spirit of this story is inspired by hers. From these words alone, we were given a premise that the film’s main theme is the act of forgiving.

Main character Logan used to lead a gang called The Mad Bulls. He left them to raise his daughter Tori and settled himself as a boxing coach at a gym. Both of them enjoyed surfing just in time for sunrise. That morning, Logan’s former mate Murphy showed up on his dock to coax him to return to their brotherhood. Logan declined his offer even after knowing that the rival gang Pouakai was after him. All he wanted was a quiet life with his teenage daughter and nothing more.

Tori was a Christian. She invites her dad to come to church with her but he refused. She and her friend Josh picked up Jess so she can witness a worship performance at church. Jess later confessed that she planned to commit suicide if not for that invitation. These scenes remind us how a simple act of encouragement can save a life.

The story turned when the worried dad decided to fetch his daughter at church after not being home by the promised time. Logan drops by the boxing gym and sees his friend hurt, told him to find Tori sooner. He was still on the road when Tori picked up the phone at home. Men came and shoot her for dead with dad hearing it on his phone. Logan showed us how anger translated to wanting to avenge his daughter’s death. During Tori’s wake, he decided to put revenge in his hands and joined The Mad Bulls again.

Another pivotal character in this tale is Pouakai gang leader Cruz. He took Tori’s laptop in search for information but ended watching her video message about forgiveness. His mother was already confined at hospice care. In a short intimate chat, she told him to forgive everyone and himself so he could be set free. It was the same message bespoke by Tori.

Logan and Murphy came to kill Cruz’s mom. Logan was unable to act on it so Murphy pressed a pillow on top of her face. She was barely alive when Cruz came to see her. She reminded him to forgive everyone before passing on. Cruz made a noble act and that was to face Logan. Both men understood that they wanted to end the impending bloodbath. As it turns out, Murphy used Tori’s death as a match to ignite the fire between the two gangs so theirs can take over the town. He got shot dead as well.  In the end, Logan wore Tori’s cross necklace as a sign of his newfound faith in Christianity.

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Reconciliation: A Father’s Selfless Love

Reconciliation

The film Reconciliation released in 2009 takes us into a heartbreaking story between father and son Jeff and Grant who have lived separate lives in the last 24 years. The movie started with a scene of the father and son playing cards. Grant was happy and he loved his father. Fast forward to Grant’s adult life, his wife Sara complains about his being distant during her pregnancy period. Unknown to Sara, Grant had apprehensions about facing fatherhood. He hid from her about Jeff’s existence because his father is gay. These scenes show us how an unpleasant childhood affects us when we become adults.

Grant and Sara’s confrontation scene teaches us that marriage works by having trust and honesty with each other. Trust bonds a husband and wife to face life’s challenges together. Morality is the key so one can support the other. Sara demonstrates an encouraging wife who nudges her husband to soften his heart so he can make peace with his past.

There’s a brief scene where a preacher talks about self-hate and shame, and that all sins are forgivable when we repent to God. The sermon may also mean that prolonged sorrow we allow to linger for years cripples our soul. Self-doubt, when nurtured, may make us believe that we are less of a person we are. Society does not dictate our identity. We find our value in our relationship with God.

The story turned when Sara received a call informing that Jeff’s condition is terminal and requesting for his son Grant to see him in his remaining days. Grant’s hatred for Jeff may not come as intense as it was in his younger years. However, he still holds an invisible shield to keep his emotions at bay when he finally came face to face with his father at the hospital. These scenes remind us how old hurts hurt more the hater than the hated person. We get angry for a while that turns into hatred over time, and when numbness hits us, hate turns to indifference for as long as we can bear it. Grant was initially showing polite indifference towards Jeff until he gets confronted by his partner Patrick. His role is also of the essence of the story. He fills the gaps about Jeff’s life that Grant missed.

Finally, Jeff and Grant were able to tell their separate story after they parted ways. As it turns out, Grant’s father and mother kept their friendship until her passing. She was able to share snippets of his teenage life to Jeff. In turn, Grant told his pain of humiliation and what he went through to become a responsible Christian. What is beautiful in this story is the act of forgiving. It is the same as surrendering our brokenness to God. A father gives out his selfless love to his child much like Our Father in Heaven.

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